IBM software acts as human memory backup

IBM working on software that just may help you better recollect all the forgotten pieces of your life.

Ever try to remember who you bumped into at the store a few days back? Or exactly what the company president said at the morning meeting?

Well, you're not alone. And IBM researchers are working on software that just may help you better recollect all the forgotten pieces of your life.

This week, the company unveiled software that uses images, sounds, and text recorded on everyday mobile devices to help people recall names, faces, conversations and events. Dubbed Pensieve, the software organizes bits of collected information, stores them and then helps the user extract them later on.

"Today, we're flooded with information. It's an information overload and we're not capable of handling it," said Eran Belinsky, an IBM project leader. "This would relieve us from the anxiousness or need to try to remember everything. And there's the issue of trouble with recollection. [It's like] your index is broken. You know you know something but you can't get there. This could help people having trouble with their memory reconstruct their memories."

IBM's project is akin to one that Gordon Bell and other scientists at Microsoft Research have been working on for the past nine years. Bell, a longtime veteran of the IT industry and now principal researcher at Microsoft's research arm, is developing a way for people to remember different aspects of their lives.

Bell's project, called MyLifeBits, has him supplementing his own memory by collecting as much information as he can about his life. He's trying to store a lifetime on his Dell laptop. Collecting telephone conversations, music, lectures, books he's written and read and photographs he's incessantly taken, Bell is amassing a great database of his life.

Belinsky said IBM, while not part of the MyLifeBits project, are developing software that could help organize all of that information.

"After you take the pictures, you place them in the system," explained Belinsky. 'You stockpile the images in a server. In addition to taking the picture, you collect the contextual information, like embedding GPS information into the picture, along with the time. When the picture is uploaded, the software looks at your calendar to see what you were doing at that time. Then it can cluster images into groups based on time, location and calendar. And it will label the clusters."

Belinsky said he can't put a timeframe on when the software might be ready but did say that "hundreds" of IBM employees are testing it now.

"In Harry Potter, wizards can put their thoughts in the [Pensieve] and it will hold onto the memories," he added. "Later, the thoughts can be [retrieved] and shown to other people. We are trying, in a sense, to make magic a reality. Of course, we don't have magic, so we're trying to use today's magic wand, which is the mobile phone equipped with a digital camera and GPS. People will capture their memories or experience cues in the form of a picture. When they later see the picture, it will help them recollect the experience."

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?